Monday, September 27, 2010

The Marty Game by Philin Phlash

By Philin Phlash

For the past five years on the streets of Wicker Park, at festivals on Division in front of Moonshine, there is an 11-year-old kid with a bucket of baseballs, a board, and an assortment of buckets.

On the board it says, "THE MARTY GAME, 5 balls 50 cents," and it looks like a combination of the BOZO game meets Skeeball. I call it street skeeball. Marty invented the game when he was five years old in the driveway of Moonshine for the Guiness Fest.

This is how it came about... first off, Marty is my son, and he has a sister and a brother, both artists. Marty's siblings wanted to do art and sell it at the fest.

"Dad, I don't want to do art, I want to do a game," Marty said to me.

"A game, what kind of game?" I asked.

"Well, I need a ball," Marty said.

I replied that we've got about 15 baseballs in the car.

"I need buckets," he said.

"Well, we got pickle buckets out back. What else?" I asked.

"Dad, I need a ramp," Marty said.

"I got a piece of wood in the basement I'll go get it," I said. And I did. I got the stuff, and Marty set it up. And the MARTY GAME was born.

So, on this day, Marty at age five, made his first hundred dollars and every festival season I hear my son ask, "Dad can we set up the MARTY GAME?"

Marty just turned 11 on Friday. His game has evolved and grown in popularity, with more buckets and better prizes. He invests his own money at the party store, so he can have cool stuff for kids, and he uses free promo glasses from Moonshine for adults. I let him run his business by himself: He makes the rules, he collects the money, and he works it. And, if you think you can pull a fast one or try to cheat, forget about it; this is THE MARTY GAME and it's his way or the highway, Pal.

You roll the ball up the ramp into the buckets to win, it's not rocket science, and it's 5 balls for 50 cents, 10 balls for a buck.

A word to the wise: Don't bet Marty you can get in the last bucket in two tries, 'cause that's all you get no matter what you paid. 'A bet is a bet' in Marty's eyes. At the Rib-A-Que, a guy, pictured (and smiling), had bet him $5 he could do that, and Marty took the $5, gave him 2 balls (instead of 50!) and he blew it, and then wanted more balls.

No way, hosay, a bet is a bet and you lost, it's 50 cents for five more balls, buddy. Sorry, next player please...

By Philin Phlash

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